Knowledge integration processes and dynamics : an empirical study of two cross-functional programme teams
This thesis critically reviews and evaluates theories of organisational knowledge and knowledge-related activities. Specifically, it assesses and synthesises relevant theories and thoughts to develop a conceptual model of the knowledge integration process. Empirical evidence, collected from two organisations- Boots The Chemists and NatWest Global Financial Markets is also exploited as a means of building a grounded theory of knowledge integration This theory explains the processes of knowledge integration within the context of crossfunctional project teams. It also considers the general factors that influence these processes, as well as the dynamic interrelationships between the proposed processes. The theory provides a framework not only for future research to systematically examine and test knowledge integration processes within different organisations, but also allows management to continuously anticipate knowledge integration activities within their own organisations. Based on a social construction perspective, this thesis demonstrates that knowledge integration is more than merely the representation of intellectual activities underlying the planning, redesign and implementation stages of a cross-functional programme. It also argues that cross-functional knowledge integration is a continuous process in which programme participants establish emotional alignment through social interaction. This research contributes to studies of organisational knowledge and knowledge-related activities by providing an explorative account that synthesises existing literature with empirical evidence. Secondly, this research contributes to the theoretical development of knowledge integration by focusing on its processes rather than just its outcomes and implications which have been the main concern of other researchers. Finally, the development of a cross-functional knowledge integration theory contributes to the consolidation of the intellectual and emotional dimensions of knowledge-related activities that have in the past been treated in isolation.